Once a goal is set, effective learners and problem-solvers plan a strategy, including the tools they will use, for reaching that goal. For young children in any domain, older learners in a new domain, or any learner with one of the disabilities that compromise executive functions (e.g., intellectual disabilities), the strategic planning step is often omitted, and trial and error attempts take its place. To help learners become more plan-full and strategic a variety of options are needed, such as cognitive “speed bumps” that prompt them to “stop and think;” graduated scaffolds that help them actually implement strategies; or engagement in decision-making with competent mentors.
- Embed prompts to “stop and think” before acting as well as adequate space
- Embed prompts to “show and explain your work” (e.g., portfolio review, art critiques)
- Provide checklists and project planning templates for understanding the problem, setting up prioritization, sequences, and schedules of steps
- Embed coaches or mentors that model think-alouds of the process
- Provide guides for breaking long-term goals into reachable short-term objectives